Like I said. I have never had a bad night in Tokyo. I was landing in the early afternoon, and my flight to Switzerland would be leaving less than 24 hours later. My friend N was back in the U.S. for his little brother’s engagement party, so I was unsure who I would hang out with on Tokyo this trip.
Luckily, a good friend of mine used to live in Tokyo. He told me I should hang out with his buddy “R” who was his best friend during his time in Tokyo. My buddy connected us all on Fbook, and R and I made plans to meet up for dinner at a yakitori place near my hotel in Roppongi Hills.
I checked into the Grand Hyatt and dropped my stuff off. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the hotel grounds and the room. Very spacious, with nice fixtures.
I went down to the gym near the pool area and got a quick workout in. I was showered up and ready to go, a bit before the time I was due to meet R at the restaurant, so I went to one of the hotel bars and decided to have a few beers. Things were about to get strange.
I walked into Jomon (which has absolutely fantastic food) and found R. At which point he said
“I know you. We’ve met before.”
I was a bit confused and I guess he saw this on my face, so he said
“A few weeks ago, at Feria and then that afterparty at the Ritz-Carlton with the girls from New Zealand, you were there right.”
All of a sudden it came rushing back to me and I recognized him. Very small world. On top of that, in our fbook messages, he had indicated we were going to meet up with some friends of his after dinner. Some of the girls we were scheduled to meet up with were from the group of New Zealanders that N and I had met that night at Feria (although sadly my blonde was not amongst them as she had returned to New Zealand).
We got into the drinks pretty heavily during dinner. Towards the end of the meal, two of R’s friends joined us. A Taiwanese model who had just returned to Tokyo and a British girl who worked in Fashion PR. R suggested we drink shots of Awamori at the end of the meal. The local version of Awamori served on Okinawa is about the same proof as your average vodka, but the export type they usually have in Tokyo is generally 120 proof or higher. I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so we ordered up the Awamori, and down it went (the girls abstained).
Perhaps 30 minutes later, R suggested another round of Awamori, and I was equal to the challenge. I drank half of my glass, then as I was paused R said
“Ok, let’s switch glasses”
“Why? We’re drinking the same thing”
“Yea, not really, I told him to make mine water, but now I feel like a dick, so i’ll drink the other half.”
R downed the second half of the glass and we were back on equal footing. We left Jomon and went to a bar that was nearly completely empty. I think it was called Mogambo. The only other people in there were some older gentlemen in suits who looked to be part of the diplomatic corps.
We ordered more shots, and the girls got in on the action this time. After two drinks, it was time to move on again. We went to a second bar and I have no idea what the name of it was. We ordered mixed drinks and a lot more shots, and it dawned on me that this was getting a little bit aggressive for a random weekday night.
I got the Taiwanese girl to kiss me, then she left abruptly because she had just returned from vacation with her boyfriend, and I suppose she felt like a bitch for kissing me. These things happen.
At some point fashion PR girl also peeled off and R and I found ourselves at an afterhours bar waiting for the New Zealand girls. R apparently knew the guys at this bar very well. They let me go behind the bar and mess around with the bottles trying to dream up new cocktails. I put together something that I think tasted like pumpkin pie, but no one else liked it. Charlatans.
In the end only one of the New Zealanders made it (it was nearly 5am). She wasn’t that much fun, and the bar was still empty. She left after one drink and it was just me and R. He’s a lawyer and he had to be in the office in around three hours. I had to be at the airport in four or five.
I told R I was going to call it a night and that he should get some sleep before going to work. It was after 6am, and the sun was up. I still hadn’t been back to my hotel since leaving to meet R for dinner, and I didn’t see any reason to start now.
This was my third swing through Tokyo on this trip, and I had not been to the fish market for breakfast even once. That was unacceptable. I hailed a cab and told them to bring me to Tsukiji. I remembered my way from the drop off to the small street with most of the breakfast sushi restaurants on it, and when I arrived, the line at Sushi Dai was around the corner as usual. I had already eaten at Sushi Dai on a previous trip to Japan, and I didn’t have time to wait an hour to be seated.
I walked to the first place that would take me right away, sat down and had an amazing breakfast of absolutely fresh from the water sushi. When the last piece has been served and consumed, I tossed my money down and took another cab back to the Grand Hyatt. It was probably close to 8am at this point. I quickly jammed all of my belongings into suitcases, called the desk to tell them to prepare my statement and went downstairs to check out.
I had been unable to arrange one of the cheap “shared taxis” to NRT this time, and in my state there was absolutely no chance I could navigate the train. I hailed a taxi and decided I would make sense of the $300+ this ride was going to cost me at a later date. This wasn’t the thriftiest trip of all time. I had paid for a very expensive hotel room that I hadn’t slept in. I had spent a grand total of perhaps 1.5 hours even on the grounds of the hotel. I should have just dropped my gear with a friend, what a waste.
I got to NRT around 10:00am, my flight wasn’t until (I think 1pm). Swiss does use the ANA Suite Check-In, but they weren’t open yet. I sat on a bench next to the check-in until finally opened.
After check-in I was quickly through security, across the border again and out of Japan.
Grand Hyatt Report Card
Pros: Nice, spacious rooms, quality fixtures, free wifi, appealing pool and gym
Cons: Not really sure
Verdict: I wasn’t in the hotel long enough to really form an opinion, but the location is great, and my room seemed very nice. It’s a shame I didn’t actually sleep there in order to form an actual opinion.
Grand Hyatt Photos: